Tabloid transfer talk this morning claims City are set to sign Rafael de Souza Rodolfo, otherwise known as Pernao, otherwise known as the ‘new Robinho’. The sixteen year old Brazilian striker is currently with Fluminese, though he has yet to feature in their first team. The Mirror claim he is rated at Ã‚Â£3 million.
City moved quickly to invite the youngster to Manchester last week and expect to complete the deal shortly, which will include further add-ons, following discussions with his club and family.
Pernao was able to meet and train with his idol Robinho and wants to follow the same route to Manchester as his friends, the Da Silva twins who have already made the first team at rivals United.
The youngster’s desire to join Robinho has enabled us to move ahead of Chelsea who are also said to be interested. This is another reminder of why having Robinho is so good for City in terms of our profile. He may not track back and tackle much, but he remains our biggest galactico and is a posterboy for the Brazilian national side around the world. In terms of raising our global profile, which is a stated aim of Garry Cook and Khaldoon Al Mubarak, this is huge. Other players also want to play alongside such a talent. It’s good for their egos and increases the idea they’re joining one of the biggest clubs. To have sold him this Summer after just one season, which was speculated on by some, would have diminished us in the eyes of the football world and made other potential signings more hesitant about joining our ‘project’.
Until recently continental clubs used to lead the way with plucking South American prospects, think Kaka at Milan or Ronaldo at PSV. Nowadays the greater finance and profile of the Premier League along with a steady increase in the number of established Central and South American players plying their trade over here is enabling English clubs to have greater access to this fertile recruiting ground.
Manchester United have shown the way with the Da Silva twins. However no-one can deny the ethical questions of these practices which were none to subtly put by the Brazilian legend Carlos Alberto recently when he accused United of “raping” Brazilian football in their bid for 17 year old Dodo. The recruiting of young players has always been a murky world, look what happened to City schoolboy international Ryan Giggs. It’s now a global murky world. Uefa and Fifa may well tighten the rules one day, but in the meantime City’s youth and reserve teams could be taking on more of an international look, especially as we set up overseas academies. Hopefully we will only sign genuine talents who are likely to make it, as there are already to many depressing tales of those who don’t.
One thing’s for sure, Pernao is unlikely to be the last ‘new Robinho’ we’re linked with.